Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

On Failing the Smell Test

Via the Volokh Conspiracy, an instance of unqualified and uncertified bloodhounds which may not even be bloodhounds:

First, the state concedes the dogs used in the instant case are not pure breed bloodhounds. Officer Gallien testified that be believed their mother was a dog living at Angola and that dog mated with dogs living at other correctional institutions around the state. The state did not introduce any documentation concerning the dogs’ lineage.

Moreover, the state presented little information concerning the training of the dogs. [Police Officer] Gallien testified the dogs are not certified in any capacity, “but they are very good in my book.” He explained that trustees at the detention center train the dogs and that the dogs “are real good with their noses.”

As to their history of reliability, Gallien stated that one of the dogs recently located a missing person who had fallen off a dock and drowned. He further stated the dogs have “been used a good bit” to find people in the area.

And this goes on for quite a bit. Surprisingly, the appellate court ruled that the police failed to prove that the dogs (named “Bo” and “Trusty”) were reliable. I mean, they should have let the dogs testify if the cops were going to be that unprepared.

Now, the robbers had stockings over their faces and robbed a tobacco store with a handgun. The defendant’s brother was arrested in his car with… a handgun and stockings, which had the defendant’s DNA on them. The defendant and his brother had conflicting stories (which they changed) about where they were the night before the store was robbed, and also conflicting alibis.

However, the cops showed a photo lineup to three witnesses. Two of the witnesses, employees of the robbed store, identified someone other than the defendant as the robber. The third witness didn’t recognize any of the photos. Even better, of the photos the witnesses were shown, the photos of the defendant and his brother were twice the size of the “filler” photos. Real subtle, officers. Real subtle. Also, see above for the state’s complete and utter failure to use the dog evidence to do something other than make the rounds on snarky law blogs.

Result? A retrial, and Officer Gallien likely being assigned to track down the birth mother of his star pooches.